The British people didn't vote for more cuts on June 23rd

This week the labour movement comes together - as it has done so for almost a century and a half - at the Trades Union Congress.

There can seldom have been a time when unions have been more in need than in this defining moment.

In the aftermath of a referendum in which the British people voted - in good faith - to leave the EU, but many made that decision based on false promises from politicians who should have known better.

The aftermath of the referendum unleashed some of the very worst of our society. A rising and ugly tide of racism - once consigned to the sewer of the far right, now unleashed into the mainstream.

The referendum result also left this Tory Government with no new ideas for the future, merely parroting "Brexit is Brexit" as a substitute for an economic plan. That's bad for the country, it's bad for our jobs and wages and it's bad for our children’s future.

And worst of all, in the aftermath of that same referendum, we have a new Tory Prime Minister sticking to the same failed austerity agenda that has prolonged the recession and hurt so many of our people. Harsh spending cuts are pushing nurses, social workers, those caring for our elderly and our children beyond breaking point.

But the British people didn’t vote for more cuts on June 23rd
. They didn’t endorse austerity. In fact, they voted for more spending. But if you're waiting for the £350m a week for the NHS - a lie writ large on a big Boris bus - don't hold your breath.

As our movement meets in difficult times, we must show that there is a better way. Rather than use Brexit as an excuse to repeat the same old failed policies of the past, the government should use the opportunity to throw off the shackles of spending cuts, and invest in jobs, services and infrastructure. We can stop the race to the bottom and renew our country, rebalance the economy and give the next generation the opportunities they deserve.

We can create agreements that protect working people, the environment and equal rights.

Now is the time to seize the opportunity to turn the tables on the privatisers, the free marketers and all those who would use departing the EU as an excuse to turn Britain into an even lower tax, lower investment free trade tax haven for the super-rich.

We could build a better, fairer, much more equal Britain.

But we all know that won't happen under this Tory Government. And that’s why we need more than ever a united Labour party, and electable Labour Party that can effect real change. That’s what our members want and that's what our members need.

And it's why trade unions founded the Labour Party in the first place.

Labour needs to get back on with the job of providing a proper opposition and showing it can be an alternative government. Doing otherwise, at such a crucial time, would let our members down.

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